Earlier, I introduced the eight KPIs that are critical to every IT help desk. These KPIs help meet basic IT help desk objectives such as business continuity, organizational productivity, and delivery of services on time and within budget. The previous blog post discussed about the KPI SLA compliance rate. This post discusses the seventh KPI – cost per ticket. 

Definition: The total monthly operating expense of IT support, divided by the monthly ticket volume.

Goal: Maintain minimum levels of cost per ticket.

As per MetricNet, the following were the cost per ticket benchmarks (high density & medium density environments respectively) for 2014,

As seen in both cases, the cost of the service request is usually higher than the cost of the incidents. This is because incidents typically take less time to resolve than service requests. So, the cost per ticket is heavily influenced by the mix of incidents and service requests.

IT support is considered a cost center in most organizations, and is usually the first to get budget cuts during a financial downturn. Therefore, IT support must remain efficient, even when IT spending is reduced. Cost per ticket is a key metric that helps IT support analyze its efficiency in handling tickets within a given budget. The goal is always to maintain an optimal level of cost per ticket.

 However, it is important to keep in mind that a higher-than-average cost per ticket may not necessarily be a bad thing, and a lower-than-average cost per ticket may not always be good, as shown in the following graphs.

The scenario depicted in this graph may mean that the IT help desk team is compromising on service quality to reduce the cost per ticket, which often results in lower customer satisfaction levels.

The scenario depicted in the above graph shows where the increase in the cost per ticket is accompanied by an increase in the customer satisfaction levels. This may mean that the increasing cost per ticket has led to  better service delivery, justifying the extra cost.

 One key factor for optimizing the cost per ticket is to enable quick resolution of tickets and reduce any unnecessary escalations. Cost per ticket can be kept in control by following these pointers:

  • Analyze service request patterns to plan ahead for purchase of assets and licenses, reducing the time taken to close service requests.

  • Identify peaks and troughs to optimize resource management and technician work load.

  • Properly categorize and prioritize tickets to reduce incorrect ticket assignments, helping provide quick resolutions.

  • Create a robust knowledge base.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. In the next blog, we will discuss about the next KPI, software asset utilization rate. In the meanwhile, if you are looking for an end to end IT service management solution, we encourage you to check out ServiceDesk Plus, the IT help desk software trusted by over 100,000 help desks worldwide.